I recently had the pleasure of being a reader for auditions here in NYC. It was for a regional theatre, and it was incredibly enlightening. So many times as actors we get stuck in the idea of needing to work. So much so, that we forget where the work lies. We think the work is just about getting to know the right people, and being liked. Of course, knowing the right people is part of working in the business, but that is not why we go into this business. I watched many people come into this audition, unprepared, dropping lines, even with the pages in front of them, and shaking in their boots at the sight of the people behind the table. It is OK to want the job, in fact, you SHOULD want the job, but part of the job is coming in prepared for the audition.
Often times, and I make this mistake as well, actors think, "They will see beyond the words on the page, and like me for me," or "I'm really good at cold-readings, so I'll nail this." But the difference between someone who prepared the work on the page, and the one who barely did, is night and day. For example, there was one monologue that each person that came in for the show had to do, regardless of the role. After hearing the monologue 15 times in just part of the day, we as the listener, become aware of bullet point jokes. If you as the actor, miss the first, then the second, then the third joke, then you missed the entire monologue as we are concerned. Most of these actors didn't even realize there were jokes in the monologue. That is where the preparation comes in.
The point is, an audition should never be about who's in the room, who's behind the table. It should be about the material you have prepared. Going into the room, focused on what is on the page in front of you, what you want from the scene, or who/what you are singing about in the song, will make you stand out far more. Believe it or not, it will also make you less nervous, because the material is why we choose to do this art form. It's the FUN part, the PLAY part of what we do. Take the time to prepare the material before each audition. Find someone to help read and analyze the material, coach with someone.
I am offering up my services to coach people on audition sides, songs, scenes, whatever you need. I continue to be a professional working actor, and want to help you be the same. Feel free to email me, or suggest your friends to me, my rates are very cheap, and my locations are flexible. Bret@bretshuford.com